And whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes me. Matthew 18:5

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Handle "The Problem Child"

Ok, you know every class has one... 
That kid who is consistently causing trouble. You've pulled your hair out daily just trying to keep them in their seat, much less make them pay attention in class. So, what do you  do?

Spotting A Problem Child

 These kids tend to be instigators. No matter who they're sitting with or what they're doing they often manage to not only cause trouble for themselves, but they usually involve those around them. 
 They are consistent through every class when it comes to causing trouble, be it talking, not staying in their seat, being disrespectful, or whatever. 
 Also, they tend to be popular with the other kids. A leader, a show off, a class clown, or maybe just an all around good long as they're not sitting in a classroom. lol

What To Do About Your Problem Child

 Know that every child is different. Some require more attention than others, and some things that work with the majority of the class may not work with a problem child. So, think carefully about how to handle the situation.

 Don't let your temper get away from you. It can be soooo exasperating correcting a child again...and again...and again for exactly the same thing. So, take care of yourself first, get your emotions under control before confronting the child. We have to correct out of love not anger. We're correcting these kids to help them. Someone once told me that behavior begins character. So, don't think of yourself as the big bad disciplinarian, but think of yourself instead as a mentor helping mold your kid's character. 

 Really consider the child's situation. As teachers we see and hear A LOT when it comes to our kids lives...sometimes more than we'd ever want to know. So, consider their family life and situations. Are there issues at home that could be causing the child to act out? Does the child come from a big family where maybe they don't get as much attention? Do they deal with a type of disorder? Has there been a death of a pet or family member? Have they been having issues in school? Has the child been out of routine because of vacation or sickness? All these things can cause drastic changes in kid's moods and behaviors. Now if any of these things are true for your problem child then some leniency is ok...for a while. But you aren't doing them any favors by letting them run wild either. In these cases if you feel the child is unhappy or troubled I recommend first talking with your pastor and second talking with the child's parent or guardian. But most importantly I recommend you pray.

 Fourth, when issues consistently arise chances are you have a problem child on your hands. Don't mistake the term problem child for bad my experience the kids I've had the most trouble with in class are usually the sweetest most helpful kids outside of class. So, take this into consideration when you're trying to discipline them. 
 There are three main types of problem children. Below I will list the type and my recommended forms of discipline.

The Bouncing Ball of Energy
 This one tends to be allover the place...they at really inappropriate times. Now, these types of children may deal with disorders like ADD or ADHD so it's very important to have your children's medical info.

How To Help
 For the Bouncing Ball of Energy Type I recommend class participation which is really broad and can include whatever you want. Let them help pass out Bibles, get snack together, whatever works for your class. But keeping active in class will help channel a lot of that energy positively.

The Class Clown
 This one tends to be cracking jokes like they're Bill Cosby. Usually the class clowns deal with acceptance issues with other kids or family. It could be a number of things, but either way they crave the attention. 

How To Help
 Love and attention is a huge help for this one. But mostly straight forward correction will help the most. With the class clown never ever harshly correct them in front of the class. Because, it gives them even more attention which adds fuel to the fire. So, correct them in the hallway away from the class. Just point out what they're doing, and how it disrupts the class. But finish off by saying something like, "But I know you're a good kid. And I'm so happy I get to be your teacher." Giving them positive attention will not only help them personally, but it will help your relationship with them.

The Little Box of Sarcasm
 This one is the eye roller, sarcastic comment maker, and the trouble maker. Usually the little box of sarcasm is a big box of anger underneath. A common theme with these kids is divorce or death in the family. But it can, again, be a number of things but it can usually be traced back to the home.

How To Help
 This is my least favorite one to deal with, because often times you know this kid is hurting. There is a fine line you have to walk between loving and correcting. You have to mash those two things together and make it work. The best thing with this is to pray...pray for help for this family and for the child. 
 In class you will usually have to be pretty firm with correction, and the child will usually pout. But after class make an effort to communicate with your little box of sarcasm. The truth is they're just looking for love and acceptance. So, give it to them. You will see a lot of change...often slowly over time...but showing them love will make all the difference.

 My best tip for this is know that it's not you. You're not a horrible teacher. These things aren't put in the job description, but it does come with the territory. These are the kids that often need us the most. They're usually the ones dealing with things only God can heal. So, look at it as an opportunity to show God's love. I hope this helps you!

God Bless,


  1. Thank you. I have to look further into your blog to see if you already covered this topic but I would love to see this explored pertaining to our little one's, two-three year olds.

  2. Very helpful! Love how you ended this post.